Benefits of PAL
PAL has numerous potential benefits - to first year students, PAL Leaders and to staff/the department.
Growing evidence from the HE sector is beginning to demonstrate this, for example those involved in PAL can show greater engagement, improved grades and better retention (Keenan 2014).
At Bradford our students have highlighted the opportunity to learn from the experiences of peers in higher levels, friendship development, and support with settling in. Our 2015/16 evaluation has also demonstrated PAL's value and impact for students in the following areas:
- supporting transition and engagement with studies
- course and study skills development
- employability and future focus
- developing a sense of belonging
In addition, we found that the students attending PAL rated the scheme as follows:
- PAL has helped me to settle into University - 81%
- PAL has supported my learning on the course so far - 79%
- PAL has been beneficial to me so far - 81%
- I have enjoyed PAL so far - 82%
How could it benefit PAL Leaders?
- Employability skills and personal development (e.g. leadership, teamwork, facilitation and communication skills)
- Consolidation of course knowledge by revisiting core ideas and skills
- Opportunity for reflection; motivation and career focus
- Enjoyable and rewarding experience and the chance to make a difference
- Potentially a fantastic and valuable addition to their CV
- Successful PAL Leaders receive acknowledgment through certification at the end of the scheme and the role should appear on their new HEAR transcript.
Each year we also fund a number of PAL Leaders to attend the National PASS/PAL Conference.
Feedback from students
"I was able to gain the support and guidance I needed as a new student. My PAL Leaders were extremely helpful and directed me whenever I asked questions. This gave me confidence and helped me work better. The sessions were very beneficial and fun, I thoroughly enjoyed them"
"We got to talk to PAL Leaders about their first year experiences and alleviate some concerns. We could ask questions based on what we needed help with regarding each module, which we were able to input into our work"
“I have developed so many skills like communication, problem solving, use of initiative, time management, planning, patience, commitment and responsibility. I’m even more confident now and feel like a leader, and the most important thing is that all I have done was interesting to me and I really enjoyed it.”
“I feel a lot more confident in myself and my own abilities. I feel that I have a lot more to offer as a graduate”
“I benefitted from enthusiastic PAL Leaders and working through problems as a group. It can be easier to talk to other students than staff”
"It was great to get advice on how to approach modules, how to study and cope with the workload. The PAL Leaders were friendly and very open, they let us choose what to cover in the sessions."
“I got to develop my interpersonal skills, built up my C.V strong, develop confidence, got to know my own capabilities and how much more I need to develop. So it has been like a mirror…”
“I feel I have grown as a person in the areas of confidence, organisation and my communication skills by having to facilitate discussion in a group and convey information back to them, or guide them."
How could it benefit the department/staff?
- Helps student transition (reducing anxiety, offering reassurance, understanding of processes and expectations etc.)
- Better academic and social integration, overall student engagement and experience
- Improved employability and transferable skills (for new students and Leaders)
- Stronger sense of student community and belonging
- Possible impact on achievement, progression and retention
- Student feedback (potential feedback from Leaders on common issues)
- Recruitment (positive course experience and use of Leaders in open days etc.)
For more information visit PAL for Staff.